I, I will Revise!! Pre-ReviMo Interview with Marcie Colleen

Monday, December 30, 2013

Two weeks until ReviMo! Hooray hooray! Today we have Marcie Colleen with us. Welcome Marcie!

Can you tell us about yourself?
Wow. That’s a HUGE question. Sometimes I wonder, myself. I am a former teacher and former theater educator from New York. I have always wanted to be a writer, but didn’t know what KIND of writer until 2010. And then it kinda seemed like a no-brainer. Picture Books + Marcie = perfect fit.
Let’s see. What are the top 10 spicy things I can tell you about…
  • I used to work in the Broadway theater industry.
  • I once met Sir Paul McCartney at a party.
  • Tony Randall, of THE ODD COUPLE fame, used to be my boss.
  • I’ve been skydiving.
  • I worked the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade once.
  • I just recently ran the NYC Marathon.
  • I studied for most of my masters degree oversea in the UK.
  • I starred in a B-rate horror flick back in the day. Eeek! Can you say “straight to video”?
  • My fiancé is an artist who’s medium is Lego bricks. You can check out his work at BKNY Bricks on Facebook. (psst…for his REAL job he works at Little, Brown though.)
  • I am one degree from Kevin Bacon.

What has most influenced your picture book writing journey?
Truly, I think it’s the way I look at life. I tend to have a 5 year old sensibility. I view a lot of my household goings-on through the eyes of my sock monkey. When you look at life that way, the scenarios keep rolling in.

What inspires your revisions?
The drive to “get it right.” I want each one of my stories to be the best that they can be. Therefore, I want to be stretched and questioned. I belong to 3 critique groups and have many friends who read my work, as well. They truly inspire me to keep on keepin’ on.
The current manuscript my agent has out on submission is version #25! Yeah. You heard me. Number 25! I worked on the manuscript for 14 months and in that time wrote many drafts and had many eyes look at it. I had professional critiques and peer critiques. I think I was at version #23 when I signed with my agent. And then we went through two revisions together before finally deciding version #25 was the one we wanted to send out into the world.
So, revisions are important. Having patience is important. Being thorough is important. That’s why you have to love the process.

How has having an agent changed your revision process?
I have a greater sense of confidence since landing my agent. I guess I like the idea that at least one more person in the industry loves my work and thinks its worthy of publication. So, when Susan asks for revisions I take them very seriously. I know she has the best interest of the story in mind and I love that I now have a “business partner”. I trust her. Her critiques have been spot on.
Recently I sent a revision to her that I was certain was ready to submit. I was a little disappointed when she returned my manuscript to me a few days later with notes for revision. She apologized, but said she didn’t think it was quite there yet. But to be truthful, I would rather have an agent say, “Its not ready yet” than “Its good enough.”

Favorite picture book?
Hmmmm. I think I have to go with a classic. CAPS FOR SALE by Esphyr Slobodkina. Not only does it have monkeys in it (my fave!) but it is a fabulously fun read-aloud and a favorite of mine since childhood.

Favorite hair product? (Love those locks!)
Alas, it always comes down to the hair, doesn’t it? About 3 years ago I decided to splurge and get my hair cut at “The Curly Girl Salon”, officially called Devachan, right here in NYC. They specialize in cutting curly hair. My curls have never looked better. And, in fact, I use hardly any products now because the cut is so good. But I do use the Devachan hair products which are better for curly hair because they do not have any silicone in them. I use the Devachan Low-poo Shampoo, One Condition Conditioner and DevaCurl Light Defining Gel. That’s it. My routine is simple. I condition and use the gel every other day. The shampoo I use when needed…sometimes only once every 2 weeks. And there you have it.

Thank you Marcie, love your 10 spicy things! I have to ask, how are you one degree from Kevin Bacon? :D 

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Teresa Robeson said...

Love Marcie's "sock monkey eye view" of the world! Thanks for the reminder to re-read Caps for Sale. I read it before but can't remember it well. I would also like to know how she is one degree from Kevin Bacon! I sat a row away from him at the Chicago airport once…does that count as one degree too? LOL!

Carrie Charley Brown said...

This is such a fun post, Marcie! You have such an interesting background and I love your perspective on revision. Thanks for sharing, and thank you, Meg for featuring her! Great questions!

Carrie Charley Brown said...

I am so impressed that you used to work in Broadway theater! You have an amazing, varied background, and I love your comments on revision! Thanks! And thank you, Meg, for some amazing questions!

Elaine Kearns said...

I'm very impressed and I LOVED your 10 things! Awesome! Great bloc post and interview, Meg! :)

Stacy S. Jensen said...

Love all the revisions Marcie. I tend to not count. Perhaps I should ... Love your 10 things too. Ready for ReviMo!

pennyklostermann said...

My favorite line: "I view a lot of my household goings-on through the eyes of my sock monkey."

I tend to have a lot of revisions, too, Marcie. I tend to save each little rewording as a different file because I'm afraid I'll forget those words that may end up being the perfect ones.

Sir Paul McCartney!!!! Awesome!

And I, too, would like to know about the Kevin Bacon thing :-)

Julie Rowan-Zoch said...

Wait, what did you do in the parade, and did Tony ever make that funny nasal noise, even for fun?

匕คrค lคzค尺 ツ said...

She is a hot little number, ain't she?

Beth Stilborn said...

This was a fantastic, fascinating post! Love the sock-monkey-eye view. Thanks for this, both of you!

Vivian Kirkfield said...

Marcie...I so appreciate your honesty! I never understood how important critique groups were...and revisions. I used to think I could write a picture book story...revise it once or twice...and it would be perfect. I've learned a lot in the past year about the need for critique groups (I'm in two) and the need for revisions (we won't go into how many times I revise a story now)...but reading how you revise 20+ times and still believe it could benefit from more revisions is an eye-opening mindset for me.:)
Marcie...are you sure we are not related? :) I've been skydiving. And Caps for Sale is my all-time favorite picture book. And my naturally curly hair was the bane of my existence for MANY years...especially when I lived in NYC - all that humidity made it CRAZY!

Thanks for an awesome post - I'm excited for 2014!

Donna L Sadd said...

Fun post, gals. Nuts, I just got back from the library and wish that I read this sooner. I remember CAPS FOR SALE being one of my favs too, but all I can recall is a stack of caps and monkeys in trees...time to read it again! :0)

Cecilia Clark said...

I am now singing the opening tune from Hair. thank you ladies. :) Happy New year

MegMillerWrites said...

haha! Happy New Year Cecilia! :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Thanks Donna! It is a good one! We read that one over and over again to our kids. They've always loved it. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Curly sisters! :D

I'm on revision 15 for one story! Marcie's a writing machine!

MegMillerWrites said...

Thanks for coming by Beth!! :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Indeed! And those curls! Thanks for coming by Tara. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

I know, 10 spicy facts, but I have so many questions!!!

MegMillerWrites said...

I know right? What is her connection!

I have lots of versions too Penny. I couldn't possibly remember what I wrote/changed so it makes it easier for me to make changes if I save to another version. :)

MegMillerWrites said...

She is a revising machine right? Hope we all get into revision machine mode for ReviMo! :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Thanks lady! Marcie's 10 things rock! Mine are more like, I can drive a tractor, no famous people involved. Boo. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Thanks lady!! Marcie does have an amazing background! I'm going to have to find out the Kevin Bacon connection though. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

Thank you!!! Thanks for coming by. :D

MegMillerWrites said...

One row = one degree? Heck yeah! :D Thanks for popping by Teresa!

Pamela Courtney said...

Wow! what a fun, fun post! I love Marcie's energy. It literally hops right off the page and envelopes you. I enjoyed this post. By the way Caps For Sale is one of my all time favs too.